EU Institutions

Examples on EU institutions

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European Council

Copenhagen Criteria (1993)

  • produced the set of rules for deciding which countries are eligible to join the EU

Convention on the future of Europe (2001) 

  • Created European Convention which set out framework the for EU constitution 
  • Resut of the Laeken Declaration (2001) to make the EU more democratic and efficient 

Economic and Monetary Union (Dec 2012)

  • Agreed to process which deepens economic integration 
  • Set up Single Supervisory Mechanism - direct oversight of banks with a strict enforcement of rules in order to build trust between member states for a full Monetary Union 

Fiscal Compact (2011-2013)

  • In 2011 leaders agreed to caps of government spending/ borrowing to keep the Economic and Monetary union stable 
  • All member state signed pact in 2012 (except UK and Czech Republic)
  • Enforced in Jan 2013
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Council of Ministers

Enhanced cooperation of Financial Transactions Tax (Jan 2013)

  • Echofin Council (member states economic ministers) have adopted a decision enabling 11 states to go ahead with enhanced cooperation of Financial Transactions Tax
  • A tax of 0.1% on financial transactions proposed
  • Think there is not enough tax on the fanancial industry 

Banning of Seal Products (2006) 

  • The Council of Ministers and the European Parliament voted through a ban on the rade of all seal products within the EU 
  • Canada disliked this as they are a major seal product exporter and saw it as a protectionism 

NB most recent examples for the European Parliament can be used for the Council of Ministers because of co-decision 

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European Parliament

REACH Chemical Directive (2007) 

  • Registration, authorisation and evaluation of Chemicals used in EU 
  • Chemical industry must prove their product are safe 
  • New Chemical Agency in Helsinki where 30,000 chemicals must be reigstered by 2018 

Services Directive (2009)

  • Rewrote Commission's proposed Services Directive that wanted service providers to be able to operate under their home country's rules when working in another EU state 
  • Parliament thought this would undermine standards 
  • The ammended Directive used free-market principles whilst protecting local labour laws 

Climate Change Package (2009)

  • Sets changes for members states by 2020: 20% reduction in emissions and consumption and 20% share for renewable energies in EU consumption 
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European Parliament Continued

Mobile Phone Tariffs (2007)

  • Set price cap on making and receiving call whilst abroad 
  • Maximum charge for calls in 43cents a minute for outgoing calls and 19cents a minute for incoming calls, texts a set at a max of 11cents per text. 

Working Time Directive 

  • Law that prevents EU citizens from working for more than an average of 48 hours a week. 
  • UK and 14 other countries negotiated an opt-out 

All-inclusive air fares (2008) 

  • Forced airlines to display tax and charges when advertising flights to prevent misleading offers 
  • Price transparency for all flights leaving the EU 

Food labelling (2006) 

  • Standardised food product labellling to prevent misleading claims 
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European Commission

Eurostat Scandall (2003)

  • Eurostat is a directorate-general of the Commission 
  • It was accused of fraudulent accounting - siphoning of large amounts of cash into off-shore accounts 

Santer Commission (1999)

  • Jaques Santer's Commission (1995-1999) were forced to resign over corruption allegations 

Rocco Buttiglione's nomination

  • In 2004 Buttiglione was put forward as the Italian candidate for the European Commission 
  • He was going to be made the Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security however as a Roman Catholic had extremely conservative moral views e.g. he thought homosexuality was a sin 
  • It was not thought that he was a suitable candidate, especially for this role and therefore the Parliament threatened to veto the appointment of all of the Commissioners unless they found an alternative Italian Commissioner
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European Court of Justice

Factortame (1991) 

  • The court ruled that the British government could not prevent Spanish fishermen from fishing in British waters because of the Common Fisheries Policy 

Equality of Pay for Men and Women (1976)

  • Belgian air hostess was paid less than her male counterparts on airline Sebena 
  • The court ruled in her favour 

French Underground Assault (1989) 

  • French government were giving compensation to victims of assaul on the Parisian metro, but were not giving it to victims who were not French. 
  • Ian Cowen from the UK was assaulted but refused compensation by the French Government
  • The Court ruled this was discrimination based on nationality 

Maternity Laws (1998)

  • Mary Brown was fired from her job for taking time off during her pregnancy - Court ruled in her favour
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European Court of Justice Continued

Short term workers rights (2003) 

  • BECTU was forced to give short term workers a guaranteed amount of holiday 

Hip Replacement (1997) 

  • Yvonne Watts forced to go the France to have her hip replaced as UK waiting list too long
  • UK government forced to pay for it 

Cassis de Dijon (1979)

  • Germany government refused to let this French liqueur to be sold in Germany 
  • Germans were forced to allow it 

Gay rights (2005)

  • Mr Maruko's partner died - they had been together for all of their lives but he was unabled to collect survivors benefits from his partners empolyer 
  • ECJ ruled in his favour and employer was forced to pay
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European Court of Auditors

2010 Cohesion Fund 

  • Mistakes made on agriculture budget 
  • 50% of fraud down to greece 

'Big bad woolf' Syndrome 

  • Farmers over inflate the number of lifestock they have in order to claim farming funds 
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European Central Bank

Interest rates increase 

  • In April 2011 the ECB increased interest rates for the first times since 2008 from 1% to 1.25% 
  • Further increase in June 2011 to 1.5%

Value of the Euro 

  • Rise in the value of the Euro because of economic success in parts of Europe
  • This affects prices even in parts of the Eurozone that are not doing well
  • The ECB is therefore monitoring this 
  • Caused the Euro to fall in value to 85.3p 
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